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U.N. panel identifies war criminals in Syria

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 18, 2014 at 7:11 a.m.

GENEVA — A U.N. panel investigating human-rights abuses in Syria has identified those responsible for crimes including hostage-taking, torture and executions and has put their names on a list of people who should eventually be held accountable for their actions, the head of the panel said Tuesday.

Brazilian diplomat Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said the "perpetrators list" includes the heads of intelligence branches and detention facilities where torture occurs; military commanders who target civilians; officials overseeing airports from where barrel bomb attacks are planned and executed; and leaders of armed groups involved in attacking civilians.

His comments provided the most specific information so far about the identities of suspected criminals on the list. The panel was established by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council to investigate all alleged violations of international human-rights law since March 2011 in Syria and, whenever possible, to identify those responsible so that they can be prosecuted.

"We have an enormous volume of testimony — over 2700 interviews, as well as a wealth of documentary material," Pinheiro told the council. "We do not lack information on crimes or on perpetrators. What we lack is a means by which to achieve justice and accountability."

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